It’s about the journey, not just the destination: travel from Dover to Calais, on the French coast
Being stuck in stand still rush hour traffic, someone else hailing the only taxi in a three mile radius, and being crushed standing up on trains: just a few of the unfortunate realities of modern transport. The best part? Your destination isn’t even hugely exciting. All that awaits on the other side is a pile of paperwork, a full email inbox and a measly coffee dripping into a polystyrene cup from a run down machine.
Now, travelling to Nice on a recent press trip and popping over to Paris for Fashion Week crystalised for us just how close France really is. Calais, on the French coast, is a mere 26 miles from the English coastline. What’s more, the Dover to Calais ferry takes just 90 minutes. That’s shorter than it can take us to get from a press event on one side of London to a coffee meeting on the other!
We can’t quite get our heads around it (an enjoyable journey and a destination worth travelling to?!) but at this point we feel it’s best not to question it. We deem it far more important to instead put all our energy in to planning our mini getaways with the girls and romantic weekends with the boy. We’re definitely all about getting our priorities right…
We often think about the ease of hopping on the Eurostar; it very quickly whisks us away from London life and transports us to French tranquility, but it still means sitting on a train for hours, and we do that enough in our regular lives thank you very much. Sure, it’s about the destination, but it’s also about the journey, so we figure if we’re going to travel somewhere we might as well enjoy that journey.
From now on, we’re going to be getting the ferry to France. Do you get a fine dining experience in your car on the motorway? Not unless you count the half-eaten packet of sweets wedged next to the passenger seat. Do you get a kids club to keep the little’uns entertained on the tube? Not unless you’re happy for the poles to double as climbing frames. Can you do a spot of shopping in a taxi? Only through the store windows as you drive past. Do you get breath-taking panoramic views from the top deck of a bus? Well, perhaps, but only if by ‘breath-taking’ you mean ‘lungs drowning in city smog’.
Salty sea air can be incredibly invigorating, so much so that you may well feel suitably rested, relaxed and free of urban stress by the time you’ve made your way from Dover to Calais. (We suspect the on-board retail therapy and a glass of wine won’t have hurt either). But hey, you’re there now; you may as well make the most of what Calais has to offer!
So close is Calais, making the short crossing over the English Channel has long been a favourite lunchtime activity for British day-trippers who’ve affectionately become known as ‘booze cruisers’. Why? Because they pop over the pond to take advantage of the incredible tax gap on alcohol and cigarettes! It’s not just a shopping haven though; located on the coast Calais has a shimmering array of restaurants serving local fresh fish and an infinite number of watersporting opportunities too. Ignite the competitive spirit in your girlfriends with paintballing and quad-biking, and re-kindle your romance riding horses along the beach under the setting French sun.
…and if you’re feeling a little homesick? On a clear day the White Cliffs of Dover can easily be seen from Calais, reminding us that home is only a quick ferry away.